Tropical rainforest ecosystems are one of the most important ecosystems on earth. There are literally thousands of different species of plants and animals that inhabit the tropical rain forests. Unfortunately, what you know about rain forests may be limited to movies that you have seen, with hundred foot snakes and large tropical plants devouring people in one fell swoop. While there can be dangers in a rain forest environment, what you see in a movie theater is not always what is real.
One of the first misconceptions about rainforest ecosystems is that the foliage consists of only plants that are densely packed. Tropical rain forests are also filled with an abundance of tall trees. These trees work together to form a “tropical ceiling,” also know as a canopy, that covers the smaller plants from the heat and brightness of the sun. In areas where this covering occurs, the plants do not grow to a very large size. Yet, in areas where the sunshine is allowed to reach the plants, there are many different types of exotic plants that grow.
The forests are filled with an abundance of organisms such as herbs, trees, shrubs and other foliage. These plants, along with other factors, such as dead and decaying rainforest animals, add organic matter and alter the soil in the forest. This process increases the rate at which water is retained and infiltrated.
Tropical rainforest ecosystems are under the umbrella of constant cloud cover. This fact, along with the rainfall that the rain forest receives and other circumstances, is the reason why there is continuous moisture there.
The large trees that form a canopy in the rain forest go through what is known as transpiration. This is where the leaves of plants and trees experience water loss. While to those who are not familiar with rain forests, it may not seem like transpiration itself could result in a large amount of water, it does. Each tree in the rain forest that forms a canopy over the area is responsible for losing almost 200 gallons of water on a yearly basis.
There are many different types of relationships that exist within rainforest ecosystems. Whether it is the relationship between the canopy trees and the moisture in the rain forest, the insects that help with the pollination of plants or the fertilization of soil from the decomposition of plants and animals, they all work together to promote the survival of the ecosystem.
Another key to survival is ecosystem management and stopping the process of directly destroying the rain forest. If we do what we can to prevent bio-networks, such as rain forests from being destroyed, then we are fighting for the protection and survival of mother earth.